FY 2016 budget supports students, employees and UNT's progress

Sept. 2, 2015

Dear faculty and staff,

As you know, planning is important to us. That’s because we want to make sure our priorities, goals and budget are aligned so that we’re spending our money wisely and investing in initiatives that help us provide the best education to our students and achieve our dreams.

Our conservative budgeting in FY 2015 and focus on financial transformation enabled us to end the fiscal year in strong standing. With this solid foundation, we have created a FY 2016 budget that supports our strategic priorities and our continued mission to become a nationally prominent public research university.

We rebuilt and transformed our finance operations, improved our physical facilities, acquired gateway properties, and implemented critically needed IT. We also continued our planning implementation activities to ensure that we improve our academic and fiscal infrastructure.

One of our most important investments, however, is in you. This year, we plan to add new faculty and staff positions to support our growing enrollment and we’ve set aside a merit pool, which will reward eligible faculty and staff for their excellence. Merit raises for those awarded will become effective Dec. 1. 

Another essential investment — in line with this year’s planning theme of Owning Excellence — is in our students’ education. We are planning to put nearly $7.5 million more into supporting academic affairs and research to fund initiatives designated as priorities by the deans, and have invested significantly in graduate recruitment. Our deans now have more budget authority and accountability. They have submitted sound plans that attend to our most urgent needs and advance the quality of a UNT education by supporting the programs and people in their areas. These investments will help us move toward national prominence.

As you know, enrollment is another top priority for us, with a focus on making UNT a first-choice university for students who meet our admissions requirements. The investments we made last year paid off. Enrollment is up this fall and our 125th anniversary could be a record-breaking year. We have welcomed our biggest and most talented freshman class, which includes 15 new National Merit Scholars — a big jump from last year — that takes us to a total of 30 on campus. This year, we’re also investing roughly $1.5 million more to continue supporting scholarships, enrollment technology, and recruitment and retention efforts.

Our FY 2016 budget reflects stronger financial health, growth and progress. Moving forward, we will continue to build on this while ensuring that UNT remains an institution of access, opportunity and excellence.

I hope you’ll join me for my State of the University address at 2 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Murchison Performing Arts Center, where we will launch our 125th anniversary celebration, celebrate our accomplishments and look toward our future.

UNT Proud,

Neal Smatresk